The Siberian American: Eleven Books I Read in January

Monday, February 13, 2017

Eleven Books I Read in January

Happy book day! I look forward to putting together this post every month and adding more books from everyone's lists! January was mostly dominated by Erin's Book Challenge. I participated for the first time and really enjoyed the categories! I finished the challenge a few weeks ago and am slowly working my way through the bonus round. I have no idea if I'll finish, though, because my NetGalley list is embarrassing right now (let's just say it's over 100 books and leave it at that).

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore 
(c/o NetGalley)
Wow, this book was so much better than I expected. I love when historical fiction teaches me something new in an interesting and fast-paced manner. I vaguely knew about the War of Currents between Edison and Westinghouse, but this book really transported me to that time period. It is narrated by Paul Carvath, Westinghouse's young lawyer, who was at the very center of the war. It was fascinating to read everything Edison did to convince the public that direct current was better than alternating current. If you love historical fiction, this one is a great read!

Erin's Book Challenge: A book with a homonym in the title

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella 
(c/o NetGalley) 
Confession: I don't think I've ever read a Sophie Kinsella book. I thought I had, but I just looked through my GoodReads list and saw I've never reviewed one. After reading this book, I can see why people like to read Sophie Kinsella so much. The book started off slow (Katie doesn't get fired until 30 percent into the book. This isn't a spoiler since it says it happens in the book description), but it gets so much better. I loved Katie, Demeter, and Alex. This is a good, cozy read by the fire kind of read. If you like women's fiction, I would highly recommend it!

Erin's Book Challenge: A book with a mostly green cover

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu 
This is a short but poignant book I read practically in one sitting. The Truth About Alice really showcased how awful bullying can be and what kids/teenagers put each other through on a daily basis. The only thing that did bother me is the four narrators. I think two of the narrators were really unnecessary, and the author should have really stuck with one or two.

Erin's Book Challenge: A book set in your city/town/state

We Could Be Beautiful by Swan Huntley 
(c/o NetGalley) 
This book started out slow. By slow I mean the conflict didn't occur until 80 percent into the book. Then, as soon as it started, it was obvious what was going to happen. I did like the ending of the book, which moved it up to three stars for me.

Erin's Book Challenge: A book that starts with a "W"

American Heiress by Jeffery Toobin 
(c/o NetGalley) 
I've always been fascinated by the Hearst family, especially William Randolph Hearst, Patty's grandfather, but I didn't know much about the kidnapping of Patty Hearst. Toobin's account was fascinating, though I did feel bogged down by all the details a few times. Overall, it is an interesting book for those curious to learn more about Patty Hearst and her time with the SLA.

Erin's Book Challenge: A book from a genre you rarely read

The Undesirables by Chad Thumann
(c/o NetGalley)
I usually don't read books set in Russia for reasons I won't get into in the review (I'm happy to answer if you message me, though), but this story made me curious enough to give it a try. I didn't love the writing, and I did think there were too many narrators, but the story sucked me in. The first 10 percent was a little slow, but once it got going, I didn't want to stop reading it. Overall, I thought it was an interesting (and fair) overview of what World War II was like for Russians in Leningrad and soldiers fighting the Eastern Front.

Erin's Book Challenge: Freebie that's at least 200 pages long.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
This is a beautiful story that really speaks to the power of music in our lives. Patchett turns a horrifying event of a hostage crisis into a story of love and forgiveness. The only reason it's not five stars for me is it felt a little slow at times (though I think it was intentional), and I didn't love the ending.

Erin's Book Challenge: A "Rory Gilmore" book (A book read by Rory in an episode of Gilmore Girls)

Always by Sarah Jio
(c/o NetGalley)
I have liked a lot of Sarah Jio's books, but this one is truly a mess. The writing isn't great, and much of the dialogue is extremely awkward. Several of the facts don't add up, and there are plot holes. (Don't even get me started on "She was a medical student in her surgical residency. Ugh)." I think what Sarah Jio wrote in the acknowledgements explains why this book was so much worse than others, but her editor should have really stepped up and made sure the major issues were fixed. I'm sad this happened because I have really enjoyed some of her earlier books.

Erin's Book Challenge: A book by a favorite author

Damaged by Lisa Scottoline
(c/o NetGalley)
This book is what is classified as a "legal thriller" and honestly I'm not sure how I feel about the genre. Damaged is the fourth book in the Rosato & DiNunzio series, but it reads like a stand alone novel. Honestly, it was just super depressing to me. I did like Mary DiNunzio, but I thought the story was a bit slow at times. That said, I would be interested in reading the next book in the series.

The Girl in the Garden by Melanie Wallace
(c/o NetGalley)
I just didn't love this book. There were too many point of views, and it was super slow. From the description, I thought there was going to be a bit of a mystery, but the answer was revealed early in the book. I was hoping it was going to be a quick read for me, but it took me quite some time to get through it.

Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia
(c/o NetGalley)
I was hoping for a fast-paced thriller, and this book was a little slow for me. That said, I thought I had it figured out, and the ending surprised me (though I don't like who ended up being the killer). Overall, this was a solid thriller.

Favorite reads in January: The Last Days of Night, My Not So Perfect Life, The Undesirables, and Bel Canto. 

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

I love book suggestions. What have you read lately?


  1. Wow! 11 reads is awesome. I missed reading in January with the move, but have done quite a bit so far in Feb. ;) Bel Canto is one of my all-time favorites. I'm glad that you enjoyed it for the most part! Bummer about a few of those, and I'm going to bite... why don't you like reading books set in Russia? :) American Heiress sounds interesting! I have a netgalley queue I'm trying to get through too, but it's not nearly so many books! Wow. hehe Good luck getting through them! It seems like you got through a nice little chunk in January though! :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  2. The Truth About Alice - I hate when there's a good book/story/idea & they just take it to too many levels & ruins the idea of it. Ugh.

  3. I'm adding The Undesirables and The Last Days of Night to my list! I'm reading My Not So Perfect Life right now, and I'm loving it! I felt like it started off like a lot of her books, with maybe the same characters, but then everything changed. I just started Part 2, and I don't want to stop reading it when I get downtown for work! I'm glad that you were able to finish up Erin's Book Challenge! I still have 7 more books to go, but I think I can get it done!

  4. Gosh, 11 books!? Go you! Some of these sound so good. I am curious why you don't enjoy books set in Russia, though...I know you're from there, so I'm guessing it has to do with points of view of the authors?

  5. I read 11 books too! A few months ago I would've been in awe with how many books you I'm in awe that I read the same number of books! Hahaha. Probably the only time that will happen. ;) I've been curious why you don't normally read books set in Russia since I saw your Goodreads review. I mean, I have some guesses. But I'm curious!

  6. omg girl, 100 books?! hahahahaha. mine is at 14 and i am feeling crazy anxious over it. i feel even worse because i have a couple that i've had for a year. seriously.
    i'm glad you liked the sophie kinsella book - ireally like her books and have that one on my list for when i need that kind of book.
    yes, i want to know why you don't read books set in russia. one of my all time favourite books/trilogies starts in russia around world war 2 i believe. its been years since i've read them and i don't know how accurate they are though.
    i am SO glad you didn't like Always. hahaha. that makes me want to try her other ones, because i know you've read a few and liked them and i was super put off by Always. i didn't read the acknowledgements. but yeah, so many plot holes, so much just a mess. blah.

  7. Look at you go! I've been reading American Heiress but it's a different book. Too funny that there are two <3
    Green Fashionista

  8. You little reader you- I read one book this month, lol. That not so perfect life sounds good.

  9. I'm always so impressed by how many netgalley books you get to, so I'm not surprised you have such a long list, haha. Loved your positive review of Kinsella's recent book-- I have that one to read hopefully soonish!

  10. I've had some pretty slow thrillers too, lately. I need a good one!

  11. I started Bel Canto last year and it was just way too slow for me, but I'll probably try to finish it sometime because it's sitting on my shelf. We'll see how it goes!!!

  12. 100 NetGalley books?! I got anxious just seeing that number!

    I love variation in the books you've read. I need to do that, too. I can't stick to just one genre a month.

  13. Why don't you like books set in Russia?

    I read Bel Canto when it first came out and I didn't like it.

  14. I enjoy historical fiction so I just put The Last Days of Night on my to read list. I've read a bunch of Sophia Kinsella's books and have enjoyed most of them. I've only read one of Jio's books but loved it. I will steer clear of Always! I just picked up Everything You Want Me To Be from the library today.

    1. I hope you like Everything You Want Me to Be! The Last Days of Night was SO good! Really worth reading. :)

  15. I just read Everything You Want Me to Be. It was an okay read for me too. Part of the reason I enjoyed it was because it was set near Rochester, MN, and I lived near there. I also really didn't like who the killer was and it felt a tiny bit like a cheat to me. Oh well. I read one Sophia Kinsella book and enjoyed it quite bit and yet haven't read anything else by her. I need to fix that!

  16. The Last Days of Night sounds really good! I think I'd like that! The only things I know about Patty Hearst are the facts they share on Drunk History on Comedy Central, haha!
    I'm definitely a little curious about your aversion to Russian lit. :) I'm glad I'm not the only one ^^ Haha!

  17. I have My Not So Perfect Life and Everything You Want Me To Be from NetGalley too! I've got to get to them asap! I'm also going to add American Heiress to my list!

  18. "The Truth About Alice" is on my list. I'll be anxious to see how I feel about the different narrators after you share that you think there are too many.

  19. You know, I don't go out of my way to read Sophie Kinsella books per se, but every time I pick one up, I find that I enjoy it. I should give this one a read!

    Also, I think I'm going to add The Undesirables to my to-read list. That sounds really interesting!

  20. My Not So Perfect Life looks cute! I'll have to keep it in mind for this summer, or for a green cover book if I make it into Erin's book challenge bonus round. Congrats on finishing, by the way! That is awesome!

  21. Thanks for sharing! I love seeing what people read. :) I really loved The Truth About Alice when I read it too. Very important story. I want to read The Last Days of Night. I've read The Sherlockian by the same author and it's GREAT. I do recommend.


  22. 11 books in one month, gosh that's impressive! I can't even finish these 2 books I started late last year. Haha. You're amazing.

    I've read The Truth About Alice and it gave me so much thoughts. I feel lucky I'm not Alice, but I feel sorry for the likes of her.

    I think I want to read Sophie Kinsella's again.

  23. I've got to start getting on your level. Have you read Me Before You? (I think that's what it's called. I picked it up from Target -- red cover, has a sequel, is apparently a movie too, about a guy who is paralyzed.) I'm reading it and struggling to get into it. I want to but it just isn't drawing me in the way I want it to.

  24. I love that you were able to call a book out on its improper medical school terminology haha. The Last Days of Night sounds really interesting. I like books based on historical fact.


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